Parenting during lockdown: what’s the hardest age to deal with?

Wowsers, what a week. My wife summed up our first seven days of parenting during lockdown perfectly when she said: “Relentless, it’s just absolutely relentless.”

I don’t think any mums or dads would argue with the above statement. However, after spending a bit of time on parenting forums in the last few days, I do think that they would squabble about the toughest age of kid to deal with during a lockdown. I mean, does the fact a baby can’t move make them easier to parent than a hormonal teen who is demanding to see his or her mates? Or, does the fact the teen actually likes spending time in bed make them a walk in the park in comparison with a teething cryaholic who just won’t let you put them down? It’s a tough call, and that’s before we even get on to tantrum throwing toddlers, or attitude-packed pre-teens who need some hardcore homeschooling.

Parenting during lockdown: the key groups

I know what you’re thinking. If only someone was able to find a democratic way of dealing with this debate once-and-for-all. Step forward In a bid to draw a line under this argument, I took to Twitter and asked the following question: Okay #parents, I know we’re all biased, but seriously, which is the hardest age group to deal with during a lockdown?

I then gave mums and dads a choice of four age groups. They could vote 0-2, 3-6, 7-12 or teenagers. And do you know what? A whopping 404 people took me up on this offer (loads of people must, you know, be stuck inside or something).

What parents had to say

I’ll get on to the actual results later, but right now I want to highlight some of the absolutely brilliant comments I received on this thread. As you will see, they ranged from balanced and thoughtful opinions to bang on the money GIFs via bona fide pleas for help.

A vote for teenagers

Toddler hell

And, last but not least…

Parenting during lockdown poll: the final results

I want to thank everyone who took the time to comment and vote for two reasons. First, this tsunami of interaction made my Twitter feed look very, very good. Second, when all the votes were counted they revealed what I, the dad of a 4-year-old, knew all along. Namely: that kids in the 3-6 age group are the toughest to deal with during a lockdown because they have a short attention span, an even shorter temper, and enough independence to cause you problems, but not enough independence to leave you alone for more than five minutes. Oh, and more energy than a fresh pack of Duracell AAs. Anyway, here are the final figures.

Right, got to go. The relentless nature of parenting during lockdown means I had 45 minutes to write this blog post and I’ve already been here for an hour.

Stay safe, stay at home and keep phoning your friends and relatives (especially the older ones). This situation is a nightmare, but together we can get through it.

Until next time…


  1. I have no idea what the honest answer is to this, but I would have thought teens. If they want to leave the house, you can’t stop them. That said I was speaking to a mum of teens the other day (socially distanced, obvs) and she said her challenge was actually getting her kids to go outside for their daily exercise. That said, i saw one of her kids having an illicit meeting with a friend a few days later out on the street. Whatever, I think it’s tough for all of us, no matter the age of our kids.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, John. It’s such a tough time for everyone, we’ve just got to battle through and do the best we can. Hope you’re having an okay time – I’m so impressed by the number of blogs you’re managing to get out.

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